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Researchers hope Kansas bee hotel will educate, start conversation about native bees

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wichita Public Radio aired this story about the Field Station's bee hotel and bee conservation. Read the full story.

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As concerns about diminishing honeybee populations continue to grow, North America’s 4,000 other species of native bees are also declining. In response, “bee hotels” are springing up all over North America and Europe, including one installed last month north of Lawrence. 

A patchwork of bamboo and paper tubes, with diameters no bigger than a nickel, are stacked artfully inside a 4-by-4 wooden frame near the edge of a public hiking trail in Lawrence. Organized by size, each hollow tube is about 8 inches long, designed as nests for Kansas’ wild bees. This structure is called a bee hotel.

It’s pretty new, and there aren’t very many bees here yet--not that you need to worry. While these bees do have stingers, they're not aggressive.

The hotel has been in place for about a month, says Scott Campbell of the Kansas Biological Survey, one of several research centers at KU. The area surrounding the bee hotel is called the John D. Rockefeller prairie, part of the KU Field Station, a more than 3000-acre plot of land set aside for scientific research and education.

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